Television Show Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 8 created by Larry David (HBO Films) Starring Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, and Susie Essman.   The Arid Wasteland of Network Television  Seinfeld is brilliant television. Now fourteen years removed from the last episode, Seinfeld receives regular air time on multiple channels. Its staying power is uncanny. Seinfeld’s jokes and awkward situations are countlessly retold in friend groups nationwide. In all honesty, I am surprised at Seinfeld’s staying power. With quirky writing a shade toward highbrow, I find Seinfeld’s stay on network television remarkable. The 2000s, to an extent, represent a failure of mimicry. Even though the networks endlessly search for the next smart hit comedy, the drive for profits and viewership causes plugs… Read More →

Book Review: Arcadia

Arcadia: A Novel by Lauren Groff (New York: Voice, 2012. 304 pp) Born in Cooperstown, New York, Lauren Groff graduated from Amherst College and later earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, and has had residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and Ragdale. Groff’s first book, The Monsters of Templeton, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons. Utopia  “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and… Read More →

Film Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close directed by Stephen Daldry; written by Eric Roth and Jonathan Safran Foer (Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures, PG-13, 129 minutes) Starring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Max von Sydow. A Grief Observed Grief is a difficult concept. It defies reason; it reacts in the visceral regions of the body. Some people immediately return to work in order for the dark feelings to subside. Others need weeks, months, and sometimes years to restore their soul. No matter the method by which people work through pain, grieving is a process we all must endure. With Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, we gain access to a particular way toward managing grief. Adapted… Read More →

Book Review: Restaurant Man

Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich (New York: Viking Press, 2012. 275 pp) Joe Bastianich (b. 1968) is a restauranteur and vineyard owner as well as a judge for the cooking show Master Chef. Son of famous restauranteur, Lidia Bastianich, Joe owns the New York City restaurants Becco, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamón, Otto, Del Posto, and Eataly among others. Bastianich has also established three wineries:  Azienda Agricola Bastianich, La Mozza s.r.l, and Trinono. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife and three children. Fighting Destiny I specifically have told myself in the past that I never wanted to direct choirs, work in a private school, date a freshman in college, or date a sorority girl…. Read More →

Book Group: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005; originally published in 1971. 288 pp) To Recap The Bell Jar details Esther Greenwood, a college student who travels to New York to work as an editorial intern for a popular magazine. While she should be thoroughly enjoying herself, Esther feels dead inside, largely disconnected from the world. As she lives in New York, she begins to question her abilities as a writer and her future in general, which only causes her to sink into extreme depression. Esther wonders if she should be a typical woman and marry, or pursue a career instead. Esther returns to the Boston suburbs, where she grew up, in the hopes to reawaken herself from… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season One created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald. In Praise of the Anti-Hero  Not to say that the anti-hero is a recent development in storytelling, but it seems like the last ten years have seen a rise in the flawed protagonist. Whether Dexter Morgan in Dexter, Walter White in Breaking Bad, or Don Draper in Mad Men, many current shows extol depravity and require the viewer to root for the “bad guy”. Boardwalk Empire’s Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is another character to add to this list. Boardwalk Empire: Season One tells the tale of prohibition-era Atlantic City and the politician who… Read More →